Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 17th August 2008
|Event:||Bloodstock Open Air 2008|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 15th-17th August 2008 by Baz Anderson (183)
Well that heavy rain forecast over the three days had so far held up, but during the night God decided to pick up the Atlantic Ocean and pop it nicely over the Bloodstock Festival leaving the place a muddy mess, and the gift of a few lakes in the middle of the camping site. Still, waking up, if sleeping ever actually occurred that night, was met with a dry morning even though everything was drenched outside.
Still, the wetness underfoot was not to deter Alestorm or their legions of pirate followers each with their own black flag waving innocently in the air. Whatever you think about the band; the next best thing since sliced bread, or the biggest gimmick sailing on the oceans, it cannot be denied that Alestorm are an entertaining band for everyone in the family. The energetic kids were up there at the front and the older members of the audience, the mothers and fathers stayed back to enjoy the proceedings from afar. Lets put all this gimmick thing to one side for now and understand that in the live environment Alestorm are a fun band to watch and do entertain many people.
Over the Seas / The Huntmaster / Death Before the Mast / Nancy the Tavern Wench / Set Sail & Conquer / Drunken Sailor / Terror on the High Seas / Wenches and Mead / Captain Morgan's Revenge
Even more Germans in the form of Mob Rules had invaded and were about to play their first show in the U.K. ever. As the heavy metallers took the stage there was not much of an audience at all, but if any band has enthusiasm they will draw the crowds in, and that is exactly what Mob Rules did. Singer Klaus was almost manic in his hyperactive frontman role and this is probably what dragged people in to watch. The set comprised only of newer material, which is more heavy metal as apposed to power metal, and so there were no high speed affairs here, just solid, enjoyable heavy metal slabs of goodness.
Intro: Prologue / Unholy War / Ashes To Ashes / Fuel To The Fire / Veil Of Death / The Last Farewell / new song / Black Rain / Hollowed Be Thy Name
Canadians Kataklysm were one of my more eagerly anticipated bands of the festival. This is the northern hyperblast, so it was expected that they would live up to this name of theirs. Opener "Prevail" was a positive start but unfortunately things all fell apart a little from there. Indeed, I don't question how much effort the band put into this, but it does seem although they are doing a little too much to be liked by the popular metal audience of today. Songs that made up the set were not at all the most extreme or aggressive ones that could have been chosen. Instead of the northern hyperblast we got a highly mediocre, plain and boring death metal set with a few slow breakdowns to ruin things a little more. To make things worse, when we did get a really cool bit of song where the drums are supposed to be blasting away at lightspeed, drummer Max actually seemed incapable of playing it all at speed as it should be. Negativities aside, the set was enjoyable, just a bit of a let down unfortunately from what it could have been. Still, a huge circle pit says otherwise, a lot of people enjoyed themselves and that is the main thing.
Prevail / Chronicles Of The Damned / Like Angels Weeping (The Dark) / The Chains Of Power / As I Slither / Taking The World By Storm / Crippled And Broken / Shadows And Dust / The Road To Devastation
Sticking around for As I Lay Dying was an amusing idea, and so it was done. These deathcore guys jumped around the stage like they were at a pop concert, but even though -core bands are somewhat unlistenable, As I Lay Dying did not sound awful to the level of losing the will to live, just the will to look enthusiastic about what was on stage.
Through Struggle / Nothing Left / Forever / Within Destruction / The Sound Of Truth / 94 Hours / Confined
Now that was what we were all waiting for. This is a real band, this is the real deal. Overkill, the wrecking crew, were finally back on our island and were here to show all the kids out there how thrash metal is done. Overkill really a throw back to how bands used to be, this is thrash metal with a real singing voice, as it were, this is a metal band where all the attention is on the frontman of the band. Indeed Bobby Blitz is a highly charismatic character who is still full of energy and enthusiasm, and is just on fire when is on a stage in front of a bunch of people. As thrash metal goes, the Bloodstock audience were given a treat to an incredibly tight and hard-worked set that oozed with professionalism. The band worked incredibly well together and sounded as good and well-practised as I have ever seen any band. Different to Destruction's style of thrash metal, Overkill have a slightly more dynamic edge and together with Bobby's friendly, humorous charm, makes for an incredibly entertaining set that even though was an hour long, ended too soon.
Necroshine / Thanx For Nothin / Rotten To The Core / Bastard Nation / Skull and Bones / Hello From The Gutter / Wrecking Crew / Horrorscope / Long Time Dyin' / Old School / Elimination / Fuck You
Not that anyone was complaining, as the next band on were the reunited legends At The Gates. The band announced that this would be the last show the band ever play in the U.K. which is quite a sad thought, but two years ago from now, you would never be expecting to see these guys live. Now after their festival tour is drawing to a close it is time to put At The Gates to rest, and what better way to do that then with a highly explosive show. The band genuinely seemed quite sad to wrap this whole thing up and were also very thankful "for those who remembered" and seemed taken back by the reception they got, as in between each song a chant of "At The Gates... At The Gates..." would start. Something from every At The Gates release ever was played, as apparently they promised they would do on this tour, but of course the main backbone of the set was more or less the whole of the "Slaughter Of The Soul" album. Even if you had not given At The Gates much of your time before the festival, they would have impressed you, unless that is you were one of the ones that came to the festival entirely for Nightwish. But anyway, a reluctant farewell and the band were gone leaving total chaos behind them. One of the best of the entire festival and such a high note to go out, back home on.
Slaughter of the Soul / Cold / Terminal Spirit Disease / Raped By the Light of Christ / Under a Serpent Sun / World of Lies / The Burning Darkness / The Swarm / Nausea / The Beautiful Wound / Unto Others / All Life Ends / Need / Blinded By Fear / Suicide Nation / Kingdom Gone / Outro - The Flames Of The End
That leaves just one band left. After a long delay of technical problems Nightwish were back and were going to put the Bloodstock 2008 to bed with a bang. Indeed, along with Dimmu Borgir the night before, Nightwish were the first band to use pyrotechnics at a Bloodstock Open Air, and this addition really brought the set alive. Flames flying everywhere, god-knows what else being launched in all directions, everything was going off in some kind of systematic chaos. Now, Anette has been such a controversial addition to Nightwish's ranks not just on the CD, but in the live environment where she has to deliver the goods every time. Earlier in the year at Wacken the Nightwish show was a total flop, but the Bloodstock charm seems to have rubbed off on another band here, and Anette and Nightwish pulled out of the hat a wonderful set. Some critics will never be silenced, but this Nightwish show was the best I have seen with the cherry on the top and the real highlight of the set being the masterful epic "The Poet And The Pendulum" with the fireworks ablaze throughout the whole quarter of an hour song. "Whoever Brings The Night" proved to be a nice little pocket rocket, and "Wishmaster" too brightened the set more. Anette is not afraid to deviate from the studio recordings of songs, even when it is her own vocals. It is this, often improvisation-like singing that probably puts people off, but that is for them to come to terms with. On the back of this performance I am back in the Nightwish appreciation society as this marvellous performance of symphonic metal, even though unfortunately cut a little short, closed the festival in grand fashion.
Bye Bye Beautiful / Dark Chest Of Wonders / The Siren / Dead To The World / Amaranth / Whoever Brings The Night / The Poet and the Pendulum / Wishmaster / Nemo / Seven Days To the Wolves / Wish I Had An Angel
And that was it. The end of Bloodstock Open Air 2008. After Nightwish finished, most people escaped the festival site and went home to escape another night in a wet and muddy field. Upon reaching the first petrol station on the way home, who were we to see but Nightwish and crew crammed in a white minibus, Tuomas against the window wearing his top hat again inside looking suitable sozzled. I knew they would travel in style.
The festival was organised and run perfectly and much much better than the previous year. Bands were mostly on time, everyone attending the festival had a fun time in the bigger festival site. A more of a carnival atmosphere almost this year with the fairground rides and bikers driving around inside a ball. Ticket prices are going up once more though, and if it is to accommodate for more rides then half the Bloodstock ticket customers may not be so eager to spend their money on rides they don't want to spend an extra fortune to get on. But with the promise of even bigger and better bands next year, they have an incredibly hard promise to fulfil but something tells me they will pull it all off again.
Well done to the organisers and everyone in the Bloodstock team for another successful festival. We'll all see you again for a bigger and better Bloodstock Open Air 2009.
Thanks go to Adam Sagir for making this possible.
Written, and photos by Barry Anderson
||Written on 01.09.2008 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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